Create Creepy Digital Halloween Images

A Halloween Family Reunion!

A Guest Post by David Hayes

(Apps used: PS Express, Paint FX, Mextures)

Milford, Ohio is known for many wonderful things…including the many antique shops along Main Street. One of these shops, The Mercantile Mall, always has the greatest window displays and I make it a point to walk by on a regular basis to check them out. Many of these displays make me whip out my iPhone to grab a snap or two and this month’s was no exception. Problem is, there is always a great deal of reflection coming off the window glass. I’ve tried different times of day but there is always some reflection. This has made me come up with several different workflows to edit my images and I thought I’d share one of these with you.


halloween images

Here’s the source image where you can see the reflection of myself as well as the buildings across the street from the shop. Fortunately the skeletons and jars do show through these reflections and give me a base to work from…and off I go!



The first thing I did was open the image in PS Express where I cropped it square, tightening up the composition of the image.



The next thing I did was to use PS Express’s “Sharpen” tool to bring out more of the details. These two clean-up steps done, I saved the image to my Camera Roll.



Here’s a look at the image at this point. Already I can tell it’s going to be worth the extra effort to bring it around!



What I like about the next app I used, Paint FX, is how easy it makes it to “paint” in various filters and effects in just the areas you want them. (While it does have a Mask function, I usually just use the Brush and Erase tools.) First FX brush I used was the B&W effect to remove the color from the background and paper in the foreground.


After using the Brush, Erase, and Pan/Zoom tools to convert these areas to black and white, I clicked on the Layer tab to add the next filter.



This time I went to the Enhance filters and picked the Blur effect.



Using the same tools as before, I blurred out the black and white areas, further knocking back the background reflections and bringing the focus on the “family!”



One last filter, this time in the Blend Texture category, and that was Old Paper.



I used this to paint in the paper structure in the foreground and in doing so made this element less noticeable.

Okay…all done in Paint FX so I saved and moved to Mextures.


In past articles I’ve covered the workflow used in Mextures, so I won’t be spending much time doing so for this image. In any case, after opening the image, I went to the Vintage Gradients textures.



I thought Twilight would be appropriate for a Halloween image…so I used that as my first layer.



Then I applied the Color Burn blending mode at 43% to give a bit of atmosphere to the image.



Had to use a Grunge texture next…I mean it is for Halloween!!



And what could be better than “Decay”!?



This time I used the Overlay mode at 71% for my finishing touch!


altered halloween images

Final image! Now this is a family reunion I’d be proud to attend! Have a Happy Halloween everyone!!


David Hayes is a photographer, mixed-media artist, painter and explorer of life. Visit his blog at

Art of Everyday Photography - coverFor more photography inspiration and instruction, check out the latest book by Susan Tuttle: Art of Everyday Photography.



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